Off Home!

The bags are packed to the brim, the hundred one formalities to be sorted out are being done and we are getting ready to head home!

This space will be little sluggish but we'll back with lots of stories and photos!

Of Rains and Whys

I watch the sheets of rain slash down the busy lunch hour crowd... Car wipers working overtime, the roll of thunder, hovering crowd of people caught by the unexpected summer shower, a few honking cars, the darkening sky ......

It makes me gloomy! Why I wonder? Why do I find rains depressing on certain days? Why do the incidences pushed to the back of the mind come forefront on certain rainy days like today? Why do I feel disappointed and let down? Why do I not yearn to run out into the summer rains I love and get drenched? Instead why do I sit here moping and typing random stuff? Why do I let the growling thunder create an unrest within me like a earthquake opening up things long forgotten? Why does the water droplets on the tree leaves seem like the leaves are crying? Why does the distorted reflection of the headlights of the car on a puddle of water on the road seem like distorted thoughts on my mind?

Why I wonder? Me the one who loves rains..... the human mind...

So does rains depress you or do they cheer you?

This reminds me of a small incident in school that stuck with me through the years. Bored high school kids around the world sitting through a rather boring history class find tons of fascinating happenings through the classroom window. Anything was a valid enough reason to turn towards the window. The rain being a cheerful event. And often most teachers would find the entire class turning towards the window at the outset of rains. Seems stupid today but it was a fun thing to do those days. And one rather creative teacher, stopped in the middle of a rather boring lecture with 50 odd students trying hard to hide their yawns and said, "Flash news: It is raining, turn to your right take a look and then let us get back to our lecture" It lightened the room better than the lightening on the skies that day!

A memory that stuck with me.. I wonder why?

Mirchi Masala!

Tamizh Mirchi - Houston's own Tamil Radio show has a blog!

Request your favorite songs, be a part of our discussions, vote for the Internet Neryar Virupam song of the week and ofcourse leave your comments!

Summer is here

According to the calender, today is the official beginning of summer!

At Houston we have been having summer-like weather for the past 3 months! Evening thunderstorms are as common as 95% humidity and the mercury hitting 95 here...

Last evening it was one of those famed storms, the black clouds rolled in around 3pm and by 4 it was pouring, heavy lighting and thunder. Watching the rains is something I have fallen in love with. Getting off work, there were people huddling in the lobby waiting for the storm to pass, she was the lone stranger getting stares as she pushed the door open and stepped out into the partly shaded footpath.

The first summer drizzle on her upturned face, the warmth of the summer rain, the smell of nature in the air..... and as the rains clear up, the dripping leaves laden with moisture, the small puddles on the road, the clear skies....

Summer, how can you not fall in love with it, despite its sticky humidity.... the cottons, the mangoes, the watermelons, the ice creams and the rains....

Summer is here! Yippie! And we are heading home just like those good ole days when we visited relatives during the summer break! We are counting down days... less than a fortnight now...

Enjoy your summer!

UPS update and FedEx stories

After all the phone drama, the UPS guy left the package at our garage door without bothering to get an authorization signature! It has really pissed us off... it was quite an expensive item we were expected (yup R's new lens) and if they were going to leave it without a signature why not do it the first attempt itself?

More reasons for UPS to be consistent and check their policies... or is there any clause that says you can leave packages which need authorization on the second attempt at the door step?

Meanwhile, the very learned people at FedEx left us a cardboard package soaked and peeling off in the rain...Luckily none of the contents were damaged. But the urge to sue both these companies are getting higher.

Anyone else had bad experiences with these courier giants?

UPS's policies!

So we are expecting a delivery by UPS - the world's largest package delivery company. We come home after all the drama last night and realize that the UPS guys had come by and left a note. We call the number this morning and enquire about picking up the parcel. And they go "well it is our policy to attempt delivery atleast 3 times before offering pick-up services" WTF! They deliver between 8-4 am when we are happily punching away in our keyboards at work and we have other plans for Saturday which will keep us out of home.

Frustrated we tried to schedule the next delivery attempt on Monday where the probability of us being at home when they deliver is higher... Nada! their 2nd and 3rd delivery attempts must be consecutive days right after the 1st delivery attempt!

What kind of policy is that? I understand customer service and attempting to deliver on time but do they not have options for those like us who have other plans? And this at a time when gas hits $4+ a gallon! Eww! I feel so bad for the delivery guys and for not being at home when they are trying to deliver! Guess we just got to live with it!

Time UPS changed their policy though!

Bad "car" day - Twin trouble

It was one of those days yesterday... first it was the Acura's turn... a flat and then at 9 pm on a rainy, stormy night some 20 miles away from home (and civilization unless you consider a Wendy's fast food restaurant and a bunch of dancers/musicians) we happily lock the car keys inside the car. AAA says they will more than an hour. Thanks to some good friends we were able to get home, retrieve another set of keys and open the car!

Phew! what a day!

Weekend Enlightment

Often weekend leaves us enlightened. Houston is a wide-spread city, the suburbs are easily 20+ miles from downtown. We are no suburbia people, we want the city life. Luckily for us, we rarely find a need to drive to suburbs unless it is to visit friends which happens quite often.

Most of our friends lived off- 59 South and it was not bad. We made regular trips on weekends and the 20 minute drives were a breeze. But recently we had to venture to taking the famed I-10 almost every weekend.

You can enlighten yourself about I-10 here. But this is what wiki tells us about I-10 in Houston,

In Houston, from the western suburb of Katy to downtown, I-10 is known as the "Katy Freeway." This section is currently being widened to as much as 26 lanes (12 mainlanes, 4 lanes of access roads, and 4-6 mid-freeway HOT/HOV lanes, not counting access road turning lanes)

Yeah we have space around in the cowboy country to expand our roads insanely and the expansion just messes up routine traffic. The construction has been going on since 2000 and is not yet complete. And is anticipated to go on another year atleast. With machines that can crush our no-truck, no-AWD, compact sedan, flying bits of concrete and louder-than-thunder thuds I-10 is the perfect death trap.

But forced to travel on it on weekends, we geared ourselves for the toughie. The first couple of weekends went on quite smoothy and we should not have celebrated too soon. We spend a good hour last Saturday driving from one detour to another as we headed towards home which should normally take us 20 minutes to reach. Streching our patience to unimaginable extents...

Arrrrrrrrr.... if you are ever in Houston please take it as a personal warning.. avoid I-10 - the world's most complex interchange is crazy and crowded and you will end up nursing a bad headache!

The secret behind the smile on our faces

Things at Poohsden is moving at a remarkable speed, new friends, new attempts and new failures that accompany. We are excited with everything that is happening.. and as we race against time, let the wind mess up the hair, there is a perpetual, content smile.

Being content in life is something that is under-rated, unlike some other feelings in the world. Being content is not easy, it takes a lot to be grateful for everything we have, every minute we live, every second we breathe. And yes it is worth every bit of it.

The weekend was a perfect one! So much laughter, so much learning, so much accomplishments - minor ones but still special. The world seems so much nicer when weekends give rise to contentment. We did not sleep in, did not party all night but we did small things that made us happy!

Life is something in the air? is it summer? or something else totally.... might be... may be it is just the countdown to visit loved ones in India making our lives seem perfect! A couple of weeks more at work and then we are off home... what more do you need to make life perfect and content?

Summer Fun!

A hot, humid summer Texas evening by the lake, grilled food, fresh fruits and cakes!

Soccer, volley ball and frisbee....

Cold drinks and amazing friends!


And that was our Saturday....

Fine prints and chocolates

We never knew about calorie count and the health stuff for the longest time.. and it was wonderful. Not having to worry about balancing carbs and proteins and separating good fat from bad. Eat this coz it provides this, that because of xyz.... gone are the days when we enjoyed ghee topped idlis and added copious amounts of ghee to parupu sadam for that special kick in taste...

With advancement of science and technology, there is more information on the Internet and magazines, reality shows and news channels spit out free news about the latest trends and must-eats, driving us crazy. The trends and diets change with the celebrities who endorse it. The latest fitness plans and size zero are big all over the world.
15 years back the fitness craze had not crept into our lives. Today at the grocery store, we do look at calorie per serving count of almost everything before we shop. And when in Hillcroft (Houston's Lil India) crib about not having nutritional info on the box of tamarind sours which we love.

Slowly and steadily we are becoming slaves to the calories and fine print. It is a habit we do not want to form. We do want to eat healthy, eat balanced meals and above all eat what we love. Everything in moderation and enjoyed is good food is the what we want ideally want to do. And from today, we plan to stop being a calorie-count slave and take time to local and homegrown food, even if it means a few more bucks and a trip on Sundays to the local farmers market!

And what set this off you wonder?A brainwave on a Thursday? This post in Fit Sugar. Calorie count on chocolate? Chocolate is an indulgence and it is quite a turn-off seeing those numbers printed on a bar of chocolate. What do you think? Would you prefer your favorite chocolate bar to have calories printed on it?

According to the poll on the site, 78% of the people think it is cool to have calorie count on chocolate. And we being the minority! Oh well, it is known that the residents at poohsden have some strange views and this is just another example

Photo Source

Smelly swirls

It is amazing how certain smells bring back memories..

A chance browsing through Sephora catalog a few days back brought me to an ad for some perfume (I forget the name), a sniff and it reminded me of tamil weddings..

the scent of the sandalwood smell seeped into well-preserved pattu sarees that make an appearance once in a blue moon (I always thought kanchipuram sarees had a distinct smell, even the zari has a special smell), pink rose petals strewn around and trampled upon, a mix of perfumes and deos - cheap and expensive, rosewater and sandalwood paste used to welcome guests, body odor, faint whiffs of onion sambhar, the strange smell of vibudhi (ash) and kumkumam as strangers bless the couple.......

The human mind is indeed strange and amazing... a sniff of some random perfume brought back so many memories...

So I thought

I thought I dealt with temptations well...
I can say no to new clothes, bargain priced shoes, handbags, even chocolate and icecreams and to a certain extend travel...
so confidently went inside Barnes and Nobles, within the first 5 seconds I had the Calvin and Hobbes series and a coffee-table book Timeless India in hand...
I better stick to Houston Public Library and keep away from book shops till we get a house that can house my dream library...

Ahha moment for the weekend

Somethings are best enjoyed with a group....

like cricket.. nail-biting, on-air wait.... it was fun while it lasted!